Wednesday, October 24, 2018

NHL GMs don’t get second chances anymore. That might change how your favorite team is run.

If​ you had to​ guess,​ how​ many​ current​ NHL​ head coaches​ do you think​ have held that​ job​ for at least​​ one other team during their careers?

You might assume the number would be fairly high. After all, the NHL is often accused of being an old boys’ club, where teams prefer the safety of a familiar name to taking a chance on a fresh face.

If so, you’d be right. The vast majority of current coaches – 21 out of 31 – are on at least their second head coaching job. That includes nine coaches who are on their second chance, eight who are on their third, and four who are on their fourth. John Tortorella is actually on his fifth if you count his brief interim stint with the Rangers in 1999-00.

OK, now let’s move up the org chart and try the same question for the front office. How many of today’s 31 GMs are on at least their second chance at the job? If anything, we might think that the old boys’ club effect would be even more pronounced here. GM jobs don’t open up very often and they typically require plenty of experience, so you might expect to see the same old faces being recycled through the league.

But we don’t. In fact, only 10 of the league’s current GMs are on their second full-time job. (It’s 11 if you count Jeff Gorton’s interim stint with Boston, although that only lasted a few months.) Two-thirds of today’s GMs are on their first shot at the job. And only one GM in the entire league, Lou Lamoriello, has done it for more than two teams.

That seems pretty amazing. It didn’t used to be like this – even a decade or so ago, it wasn’t unusual to see guys like Cliff Fletcher, Bobby Clarke, Brian Burke or Bryan Murray show up for third, fourth and even fifth cracks at a GM’s job. But these days, most teams don’t seem interested in hiring a retread. More often than not, a GM’s career is one-and-done.

The two types of second-chance GMs

The trend gets even more pronounced if you look at the 10 GMs who did manage to get a second chance. Almost all of them fall into one of two categories: Stanley Cup winners, or guys who held their first job forever.

The Cup winner category includes names like Ray Shero and Peter Chiarelli, as well as Dale Tallon, who built pretty much the entire Blackhawks’ 2009-2010 roster before being fired after free agency. The Blackhawks made a point of giving him a ring even though he wasn’t employed by the team anymore, so we’ll defer to their judgment and consider him a Cup winner.

Then there’s the guys who didn’t win a Cup, but held their previous job forever. That would include George McPhee (17 years in Washington before going to Vegas); David Poile (15 years in Washington before Nashville); and Don Waddell (12 years in Atlanta before getting the Carolina job this summer).

Two more guys, Lamoriello and Jim Rutherford, fit into both categories, having held previous jobs for well over a decade while winning Cups in the process.

That leaves us with just two current GMs in the entire league who managed to get a second crack at the job despite not either winning a Cup or sticking around forever in their first.

The first is Doug Armstrong. He does have a Cup ring, earned as an assistant in Dallas, but didn’t have much success in five years as GM there. He still managed to work his way back to the big chair in St. Louis in 2010, and he’s held it ever since.

The second is Anaheim GM Bob Murray. You may not even remember his previous time as a GM, because it came back in the 1990s. He had a quick stint as GM in Chicago from 1997 to 1999, then waited nearly 10 years before getting a second shot with Anaheim in 2008.

That’s it. Two guys in the entire league who didn’t succeed in their first crack at being a GM and still got a second chance. One of them had to wait nearly a decade. And neither was hired within the last eight years.

>> Read the full post at The Athletic

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